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14 April, 2002

Snow has fallen on the ground. You, as an excited child, decide to dig until there is no more snow, just the ground showing. Perhaps it is a snow cave or snow pit. Perhaps, it is just fun to move all of that snow. Have you ever stopped just for an instant to look at the snow? There is an entire beautiful world within those layers of snow. Matthew with his doctor's box knows this world of snow very well.

The whiskbroom is used to brush away the loose snow and reveal the individual layers. The measuring ruler is unfolded to measure the height of each layer. Each layer holds different qualities. Some layers have been melted due to higher temperatures. Some layers have been hardened by the howling winds. Some have been re-crystallized due to temperature and humidity changes. All of this has occurred within the winter season. The oldest snowfall is deposited on the bottom of the snow pack. The youngest snowfall is deposited on the top of the snow pack. The snow has fallen and changed throughout the snow season.

Think of the snow layers like sedimentary rock layers. The rock layers are deposited on top of one another. The rocks have changed through time depending on the conditions. Each of the rock layers indicates the geologic conditions at that given time in history. The older rock layers are situated on the bottom. Whereas, the younger rock layers are situated at the top.

WHERE IS MRS. CHEUVRONT???? LET'S PLOT!!!! Latitude: 68.48202 degrees North

Longitude: 155.75247 degrees West

We still set in the snug Ivotuk cabin. Fog and wind-blown snow encircled the cabin for the duration of the day. A whiteout was occurring where the visibility is limited due to the dense fog and light snow. I set out doing a 5-mile GPS/Magna Probe line. My eyes stayed focused on the snowmachine tracks in front of me, which at times were barely visible. The wind-blown snow stung my face. The snowshoes were troublesome with the heavy, awkward, but warm bunny boots. I was alone in the Arctic with the white mountains surrounding me. The only sounds were the snowshoes crunching the snow and the beeps of the MagnaProbe. It was a long, immense, white walk, filled with many, many scientific measurements. The measurements took me 5 hours in which 944 snow depths were recorded.

Tonight will be our last night in the safe, comfortable, isolated Ivotuk cabin. Tents will once again become our home. We leave tomorrow for our long stretch to Ataqsuk. We will leave the mountains in our background. The coastal plains lie ahead of us. Our route will take us eventually to Barrow at the edge of the Arctic Ocean.

Temperature Max: -14 degrees Celsius

Temperature Min: -21 degrees Celsius

Matthew Sturm


P.O. Box 35170

Ft. Wainwright, AK 99703



Looking down the end of a 100 meter line. Each of the snow sculptures represent a quick snow pit that was dug.

Inside a snow pit.

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